Taglines and Slogans

Behold the Power of Taglines

Tagline & Slogan Defined
The Oxford English Dictionary definitions for tagline and slogan might surprise you:
Tagline: A punchline. The final phrase or sentence of a joke or story, providing the humour or some other crucial element. [origin obscure]
Slogan: A war-cry or battle cry; specifically, one of those formerly employed by Scottish Highlanders or Borders, or by the native Irish, usually consisting of a personal surname or the name of a gathering-place. [ad. Gael. sluagh-ghairm]

A great tagline is a powerful tool that can help consumers, customers, suppliers, and other interested audiences link your company or product name to a brand promise and message.

After a brand name or company name, the tagline is often the second most noticeable element.

A great tagline can:

Seven Tagline Secrets

What makes a great tagline great?

1. It's Memorable

  • A clever turn of phrase has sticking power
  • The shorter, the better, but not always
  • Even when delivered in a foreign tongue, Volkswagen's FAHRVERGNÜGEN garners unparalleled recall

2. It Differentiates - Say it first, say it often

  • The tagline should make a claim that only you can own
  • By saying it first, you pre-empt the competition
  • Yes, the following taglines can be said by many, but these brands said it first and said it often:
Just Do It
i'm lovin' it
The ultimate driving machine

3. It is a Delight to the Ear

Do the Dew
Mamma Mia, that's a spicy meatball

4. It sparks the imagination

  • One of the classic advantages of the radio medium to this day, is the use of the listener's imagination
  • One's imagination can easily be brought to bear on short clever taglines where the consumer "fills in the blanks"
  • For instance:
Snap! Crackle! Pop!
Does she or doesn't she?

5. It breaks the rules

  • Grammatically disruptive taglines are stop signs that make us pause
  • And that pause is often just long enough to ensure that your message gets across
Power to the she
Let's Do Amazing
Better by Adobe
Rethink Possible

6. It is trademarkable

  • A tagline can be trademarked if using it has created a secondary meaning
  • As far back as 1907, trademarkable taglines have been created that have secondary meaning
The greatest show on earth
  • More recently trademarked taglines of note are:
There's an app for that
You are the controller
  • On the other hand, MSNBC's "Lean Forward" would be too common

7. It isn't forever

  • Times change and taglines should change too
  • Products and companies change
  • People change
  • And taglines change to be relevant for the times and target market
  • For instance, Home Depot modified its tagline in response to the Great Recession:
Before: You can do it. We can help.
After: More saving. More doing.

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